Unalaska's Native Culture Camp Now In Its 18th Year

Wednesday, August 05 2015

Kids learn to prepare salmon at the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska's Camp Qungaayux. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

The annual Camp Qungaayux--kuh - NIGH – you, the Unangan word for humpback salmon--runs this week in Unalaska. It’s the Qawalangin Tribe’s annual culture camp. Now in its 18th year passing down traditional Aleut culture, it’s become a tradition of its own. 


Shangin: “My name is Barbara Shangin. I am actually going to teach children how to weave. I’m a teacher at heart, so I love to share my knowledge with the kids. Because I live in Anchorage, it helps me. I love coming down here because it rejuvenates me as a Unangan person because I can speak my language, get in touch with the environment, the food that we eat.”

Stimson Patrol Vessel Leaves Dutch Harbor for Kodiak After 17 Years

Monday, August 03 2015

The Patrol Vessel Stimson in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

The Patrol Vessel Stimson sailed out of Dutch Harbor Monday morning, marking the end of an era for Unalaska and for the Stimson.

After 17 years based in Dutch Harbor, it’s heading to Kodiak, where the state of Alaska’s biggest patrol vessel will be based.

“I will certainly miss Dutch Harbor,” said Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sergeant Robin Morrisett, one of six Department of Public Safety employees who are leaving Unalaska with the Stimson. “I’ve got a lot of friends here, and so does everybody else on the boat. We’re all going to miss Dutch Harbor.”

Shell’s exploratory drilling begins in the Chukchi Sea

Friday, July 31 2015

The Fennica leaves Portland. OPB/John Rosman photo.

Arctic drilling is under way.

Shell Oil confirmed Thursday night that its Polar Pioneer rig sent a 20-foot-wide drill bit spinning into the floor of the Chukchi Sea about 5 p.m. Alaska time.

It came at the end of one of the most eventful days in the company’s eight-year effort to find oil in the Arctic Ocean.

“This is a significant milestone. A lot of people have worked very hard to get us here,” Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino said.

Strange Orange Robots Sail Into Dutch Harbor. Just What Are They Up To?

Thursday, July 30 2015

Saildrone Inc. CEO Richard Jenkins turns his back (unwisely?) on two of his creations in Unalaska.

Aquatic robots have been spotted in the Aleutian Islands.  Two ocean-going drones were seen sailing into Dutch Harbor Monday night with no one on board. Just what are these orange robots doing out there--and should we be alarmed? 


These robots are 18 feet tall. Each one has a bright orange wing of carbon fiber sticking up from a floating platform. At sea, they look like oversized windsurfers. 

Judge Hits Greenpeace With $2,500/Hour Fine For Blocking Exit of Shell Icebreaker

Thursday, July 30 2015

The Fennica in Dutch Harbor, shortly before leaving for Portland for repairs. KUCB/John Ryan photo

UPDATE 8 P.M.: Police disbanded the protesters, and the Fennica left Portland for Alaska about 6 p.m. Pacific Time Thursday. Meanwhile, Shell began drilling in the Chukchi Sea on Thursday, FuelFix reports. 

Dead Fish, Wildlife In Aleutians May Be Victims Of Toxic Algae Outbreak

Friday, July 24 2015

Melissa Good with UAF Alaska Sea Grant collects a sample from a Steller's sea lion carcass by Unalaska's Summer Bay. KUCB/John Ryan phot

Scientists have been receiving reports of dead and dying mammals, birds and small fish in the Aleutian Islands.  They think the killer might be toxic algae proliferating in unusually warm ocean waters.

“All the signs are that we’re having a major harmful algal bloom event,” Bruce Wright with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association said.

Wright said it could be the algae that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning; the algae that generate domoic acid are another possible culprit.

Ex-Senator, Troubled Airline Promise Unalaskans Improved Service

Thursday, July 23 2015

Former Senator Mark Begich, his former Senate staffer Schawna Thoma and Grant Aviation president Bob Lowrance in Unalaska. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

Unalaska got a visit from a former senator on Wednesday.  

Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich came to town to do some public relations work for Grant Aviation.

Begich now runs a five-person P.R. and consulting firm called Northern Compass Group.

The airline hosted what it called a town hall meeting on how to improve its service in the Aleutians.

“You cannot determine the long-term plan of Grant Aviation without knowing what the communities need and want and then prioritizing what’s real and possible,” Begich said.

Interior Dept. OKs Arctic Drilling—With Limits

Wednesday, July 22 2015

The damaged Fennica icebreaker, shortly before leaving Dutch Harbor for Oregon. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

The Obama administration approved Shell Oil’s plan for drilling in the Arctic Ocean Wednesday. But for now at least, Shell is restricted on how deep it can drill.

With a key piece of Shell’s oil-spill equipment currently heading away from the Arctic, the Interior Department told the company it cannot drill into any oil-bearing rock layers.

Shell’s “capping stack” is on board an icebreaker, the Fennica, that apparently hit an uncharted rock and tore a three-foot hole in its hull in Dutch Harbor on July 3.

Explosion Shakes Aleutians' Cleveland Volcano

Tuesday, July 21 2015

Crater of Cleveland Volcano in July 2014. Pavel Izbekov, Alaska Volcano Observatory / University of Alaska Fairbanks photo.

An explosion shook Cleveland Volcano in the east-central Aleutian Islands at 8:17 local time Tuesday morning.

It’s the volcano’s first explosion since November.

Kristi Wallace with the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage called it “a small, discrete, short-duration event.”

“We aren’t certain whether or not a significant ash cloud was produced, likely not, mostly because it was short duration,” she said.

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